Concrete conversation with Tom Flood

Tom Flood Headshot
Tom Flood, managing director at FBR Construction Recruitment

We had the chance to speak with the Managing Director at FBR Construction Recruitment, Tom Flood. FBR Construction Recruitment has been founded by Tom Flood, Richard Barnes and Mark Ritchie as a specialist supplier of agency staff, on both a permanent and freelance basis, for the Built Environment.






IM What is your role within FBR Construction Recruitment?
TF Well, I am the main director in the company, I run the company.
IM Did you set up the company alone?
TF I set it up between myself and three other people as well as investors.
IM What kind of hierarchy structure does FBR Construction Recruitment adopt?
TF So, I’m called the managing director but is a little grand considering we only have five in the office to be fair! Maybe I should change that to CEO to make me sound really special *Isabel and Tom laugh*.
IM Or you could go for the founder?
TF Yeah yeah founder and entrepreneur as I see on LinkedIn a lot, maybe not that far. So, within the company, there is me the managing director and two other directors within the business. And the reason for that is one is the director of trades and labour and the other is director of main and civils contractors. My speciality has always been housing developers. We cover the three areas as our speciality.
IM And what is your background in recruitment?
TF Well, I started with Simon Girling at Hill McGlynn! We were on the same training course when we both joined as trainees actually. So, I started in 2002 with Hill McGlynn and I was trained by them, then I worked for Fusion People, who are an independent company at the time because I’m not particularly corporate. And then I decided to take it a huge leap into a job with Adecco, I was in charge of Judd Farris which is one of their brands, I ran that brand throughout the UK for about five years, reporting into the main board at Adecco. We only started FBR last January (2017) having got sick and tired of working for a massive corporate I thought I could do it a bit better!
IM When you decided to set up your own company did you have a pipeline in place, did you have any work straight away?
TF We were lucky because we had existing relationships from myself, Richard and Mark, who are the other two directors, we all had relationships. When we left the Adecco group everyone knew what was going on so we just lifted the businesses over, I mean Adecco actually decided to pull out of the construction market anyway so that worked well, when we opened the doors from day one we had temps out.
IM You said before there is 5 of you in the office, meaning you, Richard, Mark and two recruitment consultants?
TF We have Nathan who works with me, and Maciej who works with Richard.
IM Okay, so you don’t have a separate payroll team or anything?
TF I employed someone who worked with me at Judd Farris but she is based in Manchester, so she covers all that and deals with raising the invoices and payroll companies. And then I do the payroll myself. It isn’t too bad when your first start out its just about learning how to do all the payroll for temps and dealing with HMRC, and once you’ve learnt it, it becomes second nature.
IM What are the kind of challenges you faced when you set up in January last year?
TF I think the biggest challenges really was having systems in place. So, systems to do with the process, health and safety, systems with getting contracts signed up with payrolling companies, insurances. It was the nuts and bolts of setting up a business as such, rather than anything to do with the recruitment side. The recruitment side was second nature to everyone anyway. It was all the other things that go with it to make sure you are above board and compliant and that things are in place from day one. So, you’re not playing catch up with everything.
IM And is that what you would suggest a new company to perhaps focus on or think beforehand about?
TF Yeah, I would say the lead in time sometimes is more important than getting the doors open. If you haven’t done all the groundwork in that lead time you’re trying to recruit and playing catch up with all the stuff behind the scenes.
IM And what would you say is the most annoying part of your job?
TF There isn’t any part of it that is annoying if I’m being totally honest when you’re running something that’s your own. You care passionately about it and therefore none of it is annoying, I think it’s when you work for someone else that you have annoyances, which are usually governed because how they decide to run it. I mean you’re making your own choices day in and day out about every part of the business. So, it is not annoying I mean some things can be hard work, like keeping track, making sure everything is above board and okay with HMRC for example, that’s the biggest challenge is being compliant with that side of things.
IM That’s very similar to what some of the other leaders have highlighted. Previously Simon had mentioned struggles the industry will face and is currently facing such as the skills shortage and Brexit, what’s your view on them and their effect in the next five years or so on the industry?
TF *Sigh* Do you know what, I would kind of love to say yes, and agree like everyone else does, but really no one knows, these things hit you at different points anyway. The Recession hit us before and that had a majorly bad effect on everything. Recruiting within construction has its ups and downs anyway, so if Brexit does impact the industry in anyway I don’t know to what extent it will do, it may have more of an effect on the contracting side it may not. I can’t really see it impacting the housing market as such where we are at a boom time. People are still building 100 thousand less homes than are needed. I really don’t know, I would love to give a proper opinion but you don’t know until you in it and then you’ll have to adapt to it anyway.
IM Very good point, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today Tom.
TF No problem, look after yourself, bye Isabel.

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